Lucy was referred to Cheshire East Carers Hub. She gave up her job a number of years ago to care for her elderly mother, and now she cares for her son who has Crohn's disease, too. Her son had to leave his job due to his illness, so she supports him financially and his specially-tailored diet is expensive.
Lucy came to us with a number of problems, including aches and pains from her rheumatoid arthritis, low mood and emotional struggles, financial hardship, and poor sleep. Her only form of income was her carers’ allowance, so she couldn’t afford to run her car, even though she needed it to visit her mother and take her to appointments.
While she has a close relationship with her daughter, her daughter also struggles with rheumatoid arthritis and has recently had a major seizure, so they haven’t been able to meet up as often.
Taylor, from Cheshire East Carers Hub, met up with Lucy to assess her needs. The meeting was in Costa Coffee because Lucy felt that she couldn’t talk openly about her problems in her home. Taylor took Lucy through a Carer’s Assessment and an application for the Living Well Fund.
He also signposted her to a number of services and initiatives that can support her, such as the local Coffee & Chat group, Pathfinder Cheshire East and the Community Matron, as well as arranging 5 over-the-phone and face-to-face follow up meetings.
Once she received the money from the Living Well Fund, Lucy spent some of it on a fat-free fryer so that she could cook healthier meals for her son. She also spent some on days out with her daughter - the pair attended the Cheshire Show.
Lucy has now joined two social clubs, attended the local Coffee & Chat group, meets up with her daughter twice a week, and has joined a free cookery class. When Taylor and Lucy were having their meetings, he reported that she seemed much more positive about her situation and knows that she can contact the Hub again if she ever needs to.
Lucy said: “You’ve given me back my confidence with your support – both the financial support I now get, as well as meeting up with you - being listened to really helped. I had become totally isolated in my situation and was so low that I was unable to take the initiative.
“You encouraged me to do different things. You gave me information and advice which was positive. I now feel able to get out and enjoy myself and my mood is much better. I really like being able to go out for a treat and can afford it using the Living Well Fund.
“It’s so nice to go out with my daughter again. The OT was excellent and provided me with really helpful equipment which makes life easier. I’ve had the confidence to ask my GP for more treatment for my rheumatoid arthritis and he referred me to a Specialist Rheumatoid Physio who I now see and is really helping me.”
Are you an unpaid carer who needs support? Or do you know someone who is? Find out more here: www.n-compass.org.uk